October 1, 2013 – Welcome Obamacare!

Posted in Health - aging, mostly by EloiSVM42 on October 1, 2013

I love Medicare. It has worked for me. I hate my wife’s personal health insurance. It has been highway robbery. We have been waiting impatiently for October 1, so we can start looking for better personal health insurance for her.

My entire health insurance bill totals about $250 per month. With the exception of drug co-pays, and the “donut hole,” this package covers everything. I have never received a bill for any doctor visit or other medical expense since I became eligible for Medicare. It pays 80% of my costs. My AARP supplemental coverage pays the other 20%. That’s it.

My wife’s personal health insurance costs more than $1,000 a month, and it covers very little. Her deductible is huge. She gets billed for almost everything. We consider her insurance as catastrophic coverage only, and I have little doubt that if we should have a medical catastrophe, the insurance company would fight us tooth and nail to avoid paying for it. We look forward to firing our current provider soon. We fully expect to get better coverage at a lower price.

Mind you, not everything is perfect. I expect Obamacare will be much like Social Security and Medicare, both of which began modestly and with implementation glitches, then expanded and improved.

Nor does my coverage arrangement make me completely happy. I pay AARP more than twice as much for AARP’s 20% of my coverage as I pay Medicare for the first 80%? Why is that? Why do I have Medicare and a supplement at all? Why can’t Medicare just cover 100% of the costs and eliminate the more expensive and less efficient insurance companies, who spend money on advertising and lobbyists? (Hmm. I think I just answered my own question.)

I have been in the prescription drug “donut hole” four out of the last five years, for reasons over which I have no control. My prescription drug costs skyrocket when I reach it, for the very same drugs. (Example: a drug I take costs $114 until I reach the “donut hole.” Thereafter it costs $550!) Why can’t we just get rid of the “donut hole? Oh, wait. Obamacare will eliminate the “donut hole.” Outstanding!

Beyond today, I look forward to when Medicare will absorb Obamacare and we will all be under one single payer system that will work better, cost less, do away with health insurance companies and put a foot on the neck of Big Pharma. This need has seemed obvious to me since college.

I know, I know. All this is an entitlement, but it is subsidized. Here are my final questions: Why wouldn’t we want our government to spend more of our taxes on our health and less on some other things? Why wouldn’t we want a plan that helps people prevent medical problems instead of confronting them in a crisis in the emergency room? Why shouldn’t we be willing to pay a little for these entitlements, if necessary? I would. Finally, why would we want to continue with the most expensive health insurance among the developed nations with outcomes only somewhere in the middle of the pack?

2 Responses

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  1. Bob Keller said, on October 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I will be eligible for Medicare next February. I mention this mostly so you will remember to send me an extravagant birthday gift.

    Like you, my wife will need to remain in whatever coverage we have next year. Right now we are mostly guessing as to the coverage and costs, because, as an employer, we cover our employees in a group plan. So far we are getting guesses from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, our business insurer. But I have great faith and we will know more by January 1st.

    ObamaCare, as I discussed in my blog, is actually an insurance regulation program, not a medical care program. And it’s an astonishingly bad one. Like you, I would have really preferred a medical care plan, universal coverage, and steps to reduce actual costs.

    Instead we walked back 50 years to the days when the government regulated the telephone company and the airlines. Government is really lousy as a regulator, too much graft and corruption and bribery, special interests and bureaucracy.

    But I still have great faith and this will work out, too.

    BTW, on a separate note, Republicans are idiots. This government shutdown is 100% wrong. Out here in the hustings, the people love ObamaCare. Seriously.

    • EloiSVM42 said, on October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Wizard –

      I am hopeful, and optimistic, based on history of other programs, that the ACA will evolve and improve, and eventually become what we hope for.

      I agree that the government has proven to be poor regulators, but they are at their poorest when they are regulating capitalism – banks, big businesses, etc.

      From my viewpoint, not all Republicans are idiots, only some of them. The others are crazy or merely stupid. Seriously, I think we are merely witnessing the throes of a party that lost an election and is fighting it out to define its future. Call it physical introspection, if you will. They will work it out someday, I expect, or die trying, which is a possibility, and a shame. But it has been fun to watch the fight. It’s better than naked female mud wrestling.

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